SpaceX Falcon 9 booster recovered on a landing platform

SpaceX Falcon 9 booster recovered on a landing platform

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is a US based aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company headquartered in Hawthorne, California USA. SpaceX has developed several launch vehicles, the Starlink satellite constellation, the Dragon cargo spacecraft, and flown humans to the International Space Station on the Crew Dragon Demo-2.

Former PayPal entrepreneur and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk founded the company in 2002 with the goal of creating the technologies to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars.

SpaceX developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both of which were designed from conception to eventually become reusable, and the Dragon spacecraft, which is flown into orbit by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle to supply the International Space Station (ISS) with cargo.

SpaceX operates two drone ships; Just Read the Instructions in the Pacific Ocean for launches from Vandenberg AFB and Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic for launches from NASA’s Cape Canaveral AFB. As of May 2016, six Falcon 9 flights have attempted to land on a drone ship; two of them succeeded.

SpaceX has been attempting to perfect the autonomous landing and recovery of the first stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, with three successes out of seven attempts. As a result of Elon Musk’s goal of crafting more cost-effective launch vehicles, SpaceX conceived a method to reuse the first stage of their primary rocket, the Falcon 9, by attempting propulsive vertical landings on solid surfaces.

Once the company determined that soft landings were feasible by touching down over the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, they began landing attempts on a solid platform. SpaceX leased and modified several barges to sit out at sea as a target for the returning first stage, converting them to Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ships (ASDS).